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Lady Rams hold off PCA

AHOSKIE – Coming off a pair of tough Tarheel Independent Conference losses, the Lady Rams needed a statement win.

Tuesday night they were able to do just that as they edged another top-tier team in the league by beating Pungo Christian Academy 40-30.

“I think we played better in the first half than the second,” said second-year Lady Rams’ mentor Susan Nabinger. “We did move the ball well, but we had less energy in the second half.”

It was the first quarter that was the best to the home-standing Rams as they raced out to a 12-2 lead and led by eight (12-4) after the first quarter.

Caitlin Harrison had the first hoop for the Lady Rams, but Jordan Dunbar answered for PCA.

Ridgecroft senior Bardin Murray then hit back-to-back buckets to push the Lady Rams in front. Sara Hackney added a pair of free throws for Ridgecroft before Emily Cooke scored both from the floor and the free throw line to make it 12-2.

Tess Smithwich scored with 28 seconds left to get PCA within eight.

Cooke and Brinkley Johnson exchanged buckets to start the second quarter, but a triple by Murray pushed the Lady Rams ahead 17-6.

Kim Clayton scored for the Raiders but was answered by a Brice Harrison bucket. Each team hit one free throw before the intermission to leave the Lady Rams ahead 20-9 at the break.

Smithwick scored the first three points of the second half to close the gap to 20-12, but Cooke hit consecutive buckets to push the lead back to a dozen (24-12).

Johnson scored once from the floor and once from the free throw line answered only by a Caitlyn Harrison free throw to get the lead down to 10 (25-15), but Cooke hit from the floor and once from the charity stripe to make it 28-15 after three quarters.

The Lady Raiders made a strong comeback to open the fourth quarter as Jodi Rose and Johnson hit back-to-back shots and Smithwick hit from the free throw line to make it 28-20.

Cooke stopped the spurt with a hoop and then put a dagger through the hearts of the Raiders with a three-pointer at the four-minute mark that pushed the lead back to a dozen (33-21).

From there, the Rams were able to win the game at the free throw line.

Cooke paced the Lady Rams with 21 points while Murray was also in double figures with 12. Caitlin Harrison added three while Brice Harrison and Hackney added two each.

Johnson led the Lady Raiders with 13 points and Smithwick had 10. Clayton contributed three while Rose and Dunbar had two po